Windows Phone 7 owners rage at Microsoft over update no-shows

Attempt to calm angry users with update status page backfires as users take Microsoft to the woodshed

Windows Phone 7 users are not happy about the slow pace of updates to their smartphones.

In more than 130 comments added to a Microsoft blog post, Windows Phone 7 owners mostly raged and ranted about a schedule published Wednesday that showed no U.S. users were yet receiving either February's or this month's updates.

Of the five affected smartphones available in the U.S. powered by Windows Phone 7, three display the "Testing" label, meaning that carriers are conducting their tests before releasing the updates. Two of the five -- Dell's Venue Pro and HTC's HD7 -- show their status as "Scheduling," which means that testing is complete and that Microsoft is prepping the update for rollout.

None are pegged with the much-anticipated "Delivering update."

Angry users flooded the comments section of the blog post, which was written by Eric Hautala, the general manager of Windows Phone 7's customer experience engineering team.

"So when Steve Ballmer says, first half of March, then wait, we want to get it right, second half of March, he really means second half of March to late April, possibly May, maybe later, depending on carrier testing and if we roll the 'here it is' beacon out to your phone that week," said someone identified as "dkb1898" in a comment posted Wednesday.

Dkb1898 was referring to comments made by Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer last month that the latest update, nicknamed "NoDo," would be released in the first half of March. But two weeks ago, Hautala confirmed that the NoDo update would be delayed until the second half of this month.

Users blasted mobile carriers for dragging their feet and hammered Microsoft for not lighting a fire under those carriers. But mostly they seethed at the delays, no matter who caused them.

"This is wholly unacceptable, and, as we all know, it is also wholly unnecessary," said a user identified as "jimpict" in a Thursday comment. "You have betrayed the trust of early adopters, and your inability to get out a single update with anything even resembling moderate success only shows either how deeply you misunderstand the hostility toward your product you have generated or just how incredibly incompetent you are at a basic and fundamental task."

Jimpict and several others compared the problems Microsoft has updating Windows Phone 7 with the smoother process Apple iPhone owners experience.

"The iPhone is on numerous carriers worldwide, but it doesn't take Apple forever to test, schedule and release an update, yet they have millions more customers then Windows Phone 7," observed "conor.okelly" in a comment Wednesday.

Others wondered how, or even whether, Microsoft would be able to deliver a security update to patch an active vulnerability.

"I wonder if a massive security flaw was found that compromised user data if the update process would be this mind-bogglingly pathetic," commented "curtk" today. "If it happened fast, it would mean that this is all just incompetence on the part of the teams at Microsoft and the carriers. If it happened slow, it would mean that the process is severely flawed and we really backed the wrong horse."

Hautala's post, and the ensuing status tables for U.S. and international users, received praise from some commenters, but they were very much in the minority.

"The status update is exactly what we all wanted," said "Polychromenz."

And more than a few said that while they were loyal supporters of Microsoft and its products, they'd had it with Windows Phone 7 because of the update snafus.

"The thought of it being May or later before I get an update is unacceptable," said "bwgolfer," who claimed he was a supporter of Microsoft, a longtime user of its products and a .Net developer. "I tried, gave it a shot. Tried to be loyal. All I got was disappointment."

Hautala has gotten little love from Windows Phone 7 owners. His post of March 10, in which he announced a delay in the next update, attracted nearly 240 comments, most of them negative.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is

Copyright © 2011 IDG Communications, Inc.

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